By Sister Marilu Covani, S.P.
Diocesan Coordinator of V Encuentro
On October 9-10, the Subcommittee of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) on Hispanic Affairs/V Encuentro offered a national virtual event for all dioceses to connect and then break up into diocesan delegations for discussion.
Our Diocese participated with a large delegation including our three Bishops, priests and deacons, young adults, parish delegates, Diocesan Office Directors, representatives of the Curia and Catholic movements, and other community and social justice leaders. There were several keynotes; I was especially impressed by the one Archbishop Christophe Pierre, the Apostolic Nuncio to the U.S., gave on the Encuentro process and its connection with the teachings of Pope Francis. Sister Teresa Maya, C.C.V.I., gave an excellent presentation about the V Encuentro’s impact on the community and its present and future mission. Look for these and some of the other event presentations soon on the web site of the National V Encuentro - Vencuentro.org
The purpose of this national event was to complete the Sixth Milestone of the V Encuentro process by gathering the people, so together V Encuentro delegates with their bishops, clergy, and consecrated women and men religious would visualize the future of Hispanic/Latino Ministry and start to evaluate the next action steps.
Our Diocese is committed to follow this process and is presently responding in a number of ways. Our diocesan priorities on Formation, Family and Youth are being implemented now by all our diocesan offices and presented and offered to all our parishes. At our Diocesan Convention on September 19, Bishop Gerald Barnes congratulated and thanked the participants of the Encuentro process and called all of us to continue getting involved with the diocesan vision. Our Coadjutor Bishop Alberto Rojas spoke at the end, happily committing himself to continue, with us all, the process in the years to come.
We are all aware of the seismic moves the pastoral landscape of the Church and society have been experiencing this year. With the continuing impact of global climate change, the call for racial justice and the relentless crises of the pandemic with it’s consequential effects to the economy, people have been suffering and we are all searching for ways to respond to these great needs.
The Process of the V Encuentro currently taking place in parishes, lay ecclesial movements, schools and other Catholic organizations across our diocese and the country can bring hope and promising possibilities for a better, more inclusive and hopeful future for us all. A torch has been ignited and it is up to us all to bring it forward.
Sister Marilu Covani is a Sister of Providence and Coordinator of the Diocesan V Encuentro effort.